A/N: As of 2012-06-28, I'm revising this story. Hope it'll be a better read after I'm done.

Pairings: Sess/Kik (slight Inu/Kik at the beginning), minor Inu/Kag, Mir/San

Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha, the character or the story. They belong to Takahashi-sensei and respective owners.


Fukai Mori

1. Prologue


A full moon hung onto dark skies above the foothills of Mount Hakurei, its calm luminescence shining upon gently swaying canopies. A hazy firelight sparkled amidst the fields below, casting an orange-red glow on the ground where a toad youkai and a young child sat munching on a cooked hare. Sitting under a maple a short distance away was an Inu-taiyoukai, his elaborate armor gleaming in the starlight.

Shadows of fluttering leaves flickered on the long, silvery mane cascading down the taiyoukai's elegant kimono. His fair countenance was scarred by two magenta stripes running down both cheeks, stamped with a prussian blue crescent moon on his forehead. Beneath red eyelids lived a pair of cold golden eyes, opened only barely to gaze the single claw held before him.

On his palm laid a frayed, white ribbon, worn out from the many seasons that had passed. He spared it one last glance before he clasped it firmly, shifting his attention towards the swirling night sky.

Fifty years had passed...

Since he had left his heart...

In the depths of the

Deep

Deep

Forest...


The powerful Lord of the West had fought a battle. He had won, as always, and that was all that mattered.

He swayed, blood dripping down torn fabric, eyes burning with venomous shouki. He stumbled in the deepest forest. No, he was not stumbling - he was only strolling; investigating a new land to conquer till he owned the world.

Darkness was claiming him, forcing him to stop. He slumped down to the undergrowth, satisfied that his collapse was the only sound. None would disturb him from his short dream. He would rest here...a brief rest...

How much time had passed, he did not know. He awoke to footsteps and tried to stand, to draw his sword, but his body was not at his command. He had to see, to register what being had dared intrude upon his territory. Open his eyes. Open his eyes. He forced a crack in the lead eyelids, only to feel white pain sear through the narrow openings. It robbed him of his breath.

"You've awaken, Youkai."

The taiyoukai turned his head towards the voice, hearing footsteps come closer. A human. Only one? Were there more? He could not smell her scent in the wind - his senses impaired. Raise his claws, kill her. Kill them all. He shouted orders in his mind, but his claw only twitched.

Useless.

"You cannot kill me, not in this condition," the person spoke once more. Yes, it was a human, a mere woman.

She came towards him with a basket of herbs in hand. He could not see it, could not smell it. What was this revolting creature doing? Leave. Leave. He wanted to kill her.

Then he heard a curious sound, metal clashing upon metal, but the ring dulled by mushy resistance. It was unlike swords slicing flesh - more gentle, powerful but gentle.

She was grinding the herbs.

When she was done, she reached for him. He growled, but could not stop her. The delicate fingers slipped off bandages from his chest, wiped it clean with water before applying the medicinal paste. It was cool and it was warm, soothing and enticing - a sensation he had never felt before.

He hated it, he decided.

"Go away, Pathetic Human."

"If I do not tend to your eyes, you will lose vision," the woman answered, voice urgent and slightly quivered.

He did not register the tone. He had only heard humans pleading for mercy, or screaming with hatred. "Concern" was new to his vocabulary.

"Unlike you inferior beings, I can heal my own wounds."

"I am a miko. I know how to heal your wounds, you don't."

She left no room for discussion and continued her work. He ground his fangs, swearing he would kill her in time, but did not deter her movements any longer. Let the woman serve him as she should. He was her lord, the only lord in this world.

"Speaking of which, I have yet to learn your name. You certainly do not just go by 'youkai', correct?" the miko asked after the wounds were all bandaged. He snorted. What did she think she was to ask for his regal title?

Yet, he did not wish for her to associate him with the inferior locusts of their greater race.

"Sesshoumaru." he demanded - demanded her to remember it.

There was a long silence as the miko took out a bowl of black liquid from her basket and scooped a bit of it for the taiyoukai. He could not see the steam, but could feel its heat sear his dry lips. It was freshly made - the miko had prepared it right before coming to see him.

For an odd reason, he felt inclined to taste it.

It tasted like nothing. He could hardly feel the liquid in his throat.

"Are you not going to ask for my name?" the miko asked, her tone lighter as though something heavy had been taken off her shoulders. He imagined her smiling. She seemed happy.

Why was she happy? Was she out of her mind?

"I, Sesshoumaru, have no interest in the names of measly humans like you."

"I see," she answered neutrally. He heard her shuffle onto her feet, rustling the fallen leaves. "Do not move from this spot, it will interfere with your recovery."

And the steps faded into the moonlit night. He found himself waiting for something.


By the next morning, he felt rested. It was time to leave, though he denied any need to do so. It was his land. All lands were his. He merely wanted to inspect another corner of his kingdom.

He certainly had nothing to wait for. Only others knelt in waiting for him, never the other way around.

He struggled up and stepped blindly away, only to be repulsed by a powerful barrier.

"I guess I have no choice but to pin you down," the miko's voice rang, shooting several arrows towards the taiyoukai. He did not dodge in time, and the metal tips pierced his clothing, magic energy throwing him down. He struggled. He growled. He glared behind his eyelids. How dare this lowly creature confine him?

"Stop moving, it is no use. You are probably hungry, so I brought you food," she spoke.

"I will not consume what you call food." Sesshoumaru snarled.

"Now you will," the miko answered bluntly, using one hand to force open his mouth, another to feed porridge to him. He pondered whether to bite her, to spit the so-called food in her face, but such antics did not befit his honourable lineage.

Besides, it was warm. The porridge, her hands, her body...so close to him...

It was only the porridge. A warrior must feed to upkeep his health. Just let her see. When he recovered, he would gut her - this foolish excuse for a creature.


The sun rose and fell, day and night rotated many times in a never-ending cycle. She did not stop coming, so he stopped trying to send her away. Such a meddlesome human. He could not wait...

...could not wait to smell her flowery scent with greater clarity...

...see her with his very eyes - the smile he had imagined adorning pale skin...

...hold her fingers with his claws and order her to serve him.

For an eternity.

On one such day, the miko cleansed off the old poultices, and without putting on any new herbs, she removed the ribbon tying her hair to wrap it around the taiyoukai's eyes.

"Your eyes have recovered, but they are still sensitive, so hopefully the ribbon will block out the sunlight while you adjust," the miko explained as she took her leave.

"You will return tomorrow night," Sesshoumaru said.

He meant it as a command, but it was really a question.

"I will come back for the ribbon, since you hate human things."


Fifty long years had passed...

But the miko never returned...

To the place where the taiyoukai had left his heart behind...

Sesshoumaru stared off towards the fields where Jaken and Rin were chasing each other under the moonlight. He shifted his gaze towards Mount Hakurei in the distance where thick mist clouded the tops of ancient woods, so thick, so deep that it covered the ground in an endless blanket of green.

He would not admit, that all those days, all these years, he had been waiting for her.

"Deep, like the forest from that time," Sesshoumaru muttered, the breeze carrying his words far, far away into the distance.


End of Prologue - and reviews are appreciated!